Like every other big event this year, LIV Golf talk has flooded the interview areas. The Presidents Cup has been no different.
But as the Saudi-backed circuit has progressed through its debut season, the questions have evolved as well.
Part of this week’s pre-match discussion between reporters and players: Does LIV Golf deserve world-ranking points? And would you participate in a hypothetical PGA Tour vs. LIV event?
Besides Billy Horschel, the handful of American players who were asked the latter either responded with a firm no or declined to comment at all.
“They’re more than happy doing what we’re doing, and we’re doing great what we’re doing,” Justin Thomas said Tuesday. “So, just don’t see the need for it.”
Added Tony Finau on Wednesday: “I’ve shown where my loyalty is. … Fans may want to see that, but it’s not something I’d be a part of just because it’s like, to me, there’s no point in being involved in that.”
And Kevin Kisner: “No need. They’re not recognized as a world golf tour.”
But when the LIV topic came up during Patrick Cantlay’s media availability, Cantlay spoke to the contentiousness between the two sides and how, at least long term, he sees is dissipating.
“I would be surprised if there’s not some coming together intervention because I just don’t know of any sport, really, that has a legitimate fractured sport,” Cantlay said. “I’m just saying when I look at all other sports, all the best players play together. … We had the, you know, American Football League. That went away. I mean, nobody continued to play on the American Football League. There’s been other stuff in baseball. So, I just feel like, at some point, when you start looking back on it, people will be surprised to hear, you know, ‘Oh, man, it was really contentious.’ Because it just, it will feel like a blip on the radar once it’s all settled. It’s just right now very unknown.”
A few hours later, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan joined Golf Channel’s “Live From” crew on set. Monahan’s tour is currently embroiled in an antitrust lawsuit filed in August by LIV players who had been suspended by the PGA Tour for joining the rival league, so when Monahan was asked if he could see any sort of peace or alliance between the two tours, he quickly dismissed the idea.
“Listen, I think I’ve been pretty clear on this: I don’t see it happening,” Monahan said. “When you look at where we are, and you think about words and actions, we’re currently in a lawsuit, so coming together and having conversations, to me, that card is off the table, and it has been for a long period of time.”
Monahan was then asked what was a bigger obstacle in the Tour working with LIV: golf or geopolitical?
“When you look at the PGA Tour, and you look at where we are today, and you look at what it is that we try and accomplish every single day – what’s our focus? To put the best competitive platform forward for the best players in the world to achieve at the highest level, to win the championships that have history, that have tradition, that create legacy, and that is what we’re going to continue to do, and we’re going to continue to get better at it, we’re going to continue to get stronger at it,” Monahan responded. “You’ve heard me say before that we’re going to focus on things that we control; we have more assets at our disposal, stronger partnerships and we have the best players in the world telling us that not only are they going to commit to play more, but they’re really looking at the organization to accomplish that.
“It’s all about where we are and where we’re going, and again, I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities there.”